Every year, the American Kennel Club seeks nominations from the canine community for exemplary four-legged citizens. Since 2000, the AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE) has chosen five dogs per year to earn recognition for their hard work and dedication to their community. Breed, age and location play no factor - past recipients range from shelter dogs to show ring winners. These dogs celebrate the canine-human bond and contribute their own talents to improving the lives of others.
Recipients are chosen based on five categories:
- Uniformed Service K-9
- Exemplary Companion
- Search and Rescue
Eligibility requirements for each of these categories can be found in detail here.
Dogs who are honored as an ACE recipient will receive an all-expenses-paid trip for both dog and owner to the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin in Orlando, Florida. While there, they will be presented with an engraved sterling-silver medallion. A donation of $1,000 will be made in each recipient’s name to the pet-related charity of the honoree’s choice.
AKC Pet Insurance is proud to award each ACE winner with a year of pet health insurance coverage. We value the dogs in every community who put their best paw forward to make a difference!
Last Year’s Winners
In 2018, the five dogs who received the Awards for Canine Excellence all showed loyalty and dedication to their work. “Copper”, a Black and Tan Coonhound handled by Officer Christopher Hattaway, won the Uniformed Service K-9 category for his ability to defuse tense situations during police interviews of victims.
“Sampson”, a Golden Retriever owned by Joey Ramp, won the Service Dog category for his work assisting Joey with difficult tasks. Sampson and his owner changed policies at their university to allow service dogs the ability to access biology and research labs.
Therapy dog “Kol”, a Golden Retriever owned by Jane Eisenberg, was a recipient of the Therapy category for six years of comforting victims of trauma, including four months at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School following a shooting.
The winner of the Search and Rescue category was a Bloodhound named “Inspector Gadget”, owned and handled by Robert Wells. This team deployed dozens of times to assist in locating and bringing home missing people.
The Exemplary Companion category winner was “Teddy”, a Standard Poodle owned by Terri and Spencer Pardee. Teddy has helped Spencer gain confidence throughout his battle with autism and they currently compete in various AKC sports.
Have a Dog in Mind?
If you know of a canine hero that you’d like to nominate for the AKC Humane Award for Canine Excellence, submit the required forms and photo by July 31, 2019. Winners will be announced in the fall!